The Australian Government has finalised contracts with Hanwha Defense Australia, paving the way for the production and support of 129 Redback infantry fighting vehicles.
Valued at approximately $7bn (A$10.6bn), this represents the largest single investment in Army capability. The accelerated delivery timeline, starting in 2027, signals a transformative step in Army modernisation, aligning with the Defence Strategic Review’s emphasis on littoral manoeuvre operations.
Hanwha Defense Australia’s facility in Avalon, Greater Geelong, Victoria, will serve as the production hub, contributing to over 90 Australian companies participating in the Redback’s local build.
Australia’s selection of Hanwha Defense’s AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) is to replace the outdated M113 fleet. In collaboration with South Korean firm Hanwha Defense, this decision holds geopolitical significance in the Indo-Pacific region (IOR) in response to China’s growing influence.
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This IFV, designed for improved mobility and protection, outperformed Rheinmetall’s Lynx in the final stages of the selection process. The Redback IFV will enhance the Australian Army’s close combat capabilities, marking a modernisation step for its land forces.
Deviating from the previous Government’s timeline, the Albanese Government has accelerated the delivery schedule, with the first Redback infantry fighting vehicle expected to roll out in 2027, two years ahead of the initial plan.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, emphasised the significance of this project, stating, “This is an important project for the Australian Army that will be delivered by highly skilled workers in Greater Geelong and other centres of Australian manufacturing.”
Australia’s procurement strategy for military land vehicles involves developing and supporting its domestic defence industrial base by procuring defence equipment from indigenous suppliers, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Land Vehicles Market 2023-2033” report.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy highlighted the Government’s commitment to investing in the Australian defence industry and fostering sovereign capability. “This investment demonstrates the Government’s commitment to delivering on the Defence Strategic Review, transforming our Army through the delivery of landing craft, long-range fires, and the Redback infantry fighting vehicles,” said Conroy.
Other infantry fighting vehicles that Australia has procured include Boxer vehicles, which are part of Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2, according to GlobalData’s “Australia Defense Market 2023-2028” report.
The Redback infantry fighting vehicles will play a role in the 3rd Armoured Combat Brigade in Townsville, aligning with the Defence Strategic Review’s vision for Army transformation to meet evolving strategic circumstances. As part of a broader initiative, the Albanese Government’s plan includes the simultaneous delivery of new HIMARS missile systems and Army Landing Craft, reinforcing Australia’s commitment to littoral manoeuvre operations.